Category Archives: emotions

Culture shock; disintegration stage

It’s been a while! and I do feel guilty.
My excuses?? I’m tired, which is a common phenomenon after an international move; finding new routines and getting used to the new environment is exciting but also exhausting. 
But that’s not the main reason for not writing my weekly blog.

The moto of the International Feelgood Academy is “enjoying our differences”, well I’m not enjoying all the differences here comparing to my life in Qatar; Regularly I’m flabbergasted about the Dutch, their ways of doing and I feel very irritated.
I can’t think of anything possitive to write about without becoming nagging and complaining. Even if I think I’ve got very good reasons to be irritated and why I think it should be different (at least it would my life a lot more easier).

Because it’s my profession, I know that this is an important aspect of the disintegration stage and it’s necessary to let go of the old habits and routines and become aware and open to new ones.
When I’m in a calm and wise state of mind I can put in perspective and I know I will get there, but the reality of life makes that I’m not always such a calm and wise person. However, this is a stage that will pass and that I’ll get used to it and find routines that will suit me. I’ve done it so many times now.

Emotion wise this stage is not a very comfortable stage, emotions like anger and irritation -and maybe the need to fight them- , do cost so much negative energy.
On the other hand this stage is irreplaceable in personal development; The irritation and the anger you might feel about certain topics and ways how things are being done, do show things you value, things you appreciated -or not-, ways you like -or not-. 
Things you would never discover when you would stay in the same good old comfortzone.

a very simple example is -in my case- camping. I hate the smell of others poo, the dirty toilets and long hairs in the drain (everybody bold!!), it made me realize how much I don’t like to be confronted with things other people leave behind and interfere with my sense of smell and touch (ever had long hair stuck between your toes??). So I realise why I do prefere a clean environment. 
That doesn’t mean we won’t be camping anymore, but we will choose a campground with personal sanitary.

I won’t bother you with my irritations and opinions about life in the Netherlands but I’ll keep you posted about the process and the things I’ll learn from it.img_0116

 

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Farewells and goodbyes

Live is very controversial, I think everything-, every situation-, everybody- got a good and a bad site. Even when it’s hard to see sometimes.

Last week was hard, very hard and many tears have flown when I had to say my farewells and goodbyes to all the lovely people I’ve met and got to know in Qatar.  

I’ve been through this already a couple of times and I know there are a lot of people which I will never see again and people I might meet again. Inshallah. The funny thing is though you never know exactly who. People you considered as good friends, you might never hear from and people who where, kind of random, might keep in contact. Some people are good in keeping contact by writing and social media, some people don’t. However the connection will change when there’s no live contact. 

Keeping contact is harder when you don’t share the same live or know the same people and have similar experiences you can compare and share. Actually it is a simple communication thing; In a normal communication, partner 1 tells something and partner 2 listens and can react. In case you don’t share experiences it’s a tell and listen and there’s not much possibilities of a reaction so you can’t say it’s a conversation. Most people are not interested in having a conversation about things they can’t relate to and cannot respond. 

Another thing is that not many people have the curiousity or fantasy to imagine what the other partner is talking about. And even if partners do have situations, people and topics they’re both familiar with, these people, situations and topics have changed in time aswell but the memory didn’t change. 

It’s easier to keep in contact with the people you are used to chat with then the people you had serious conversations with. My children are already much more used to the chatter way of communication. As soon as they wrote they where going to the Netherlands all kind of old friends popped up and got in contact again. 

I’ve cried a lot this week and for sure it was sad but I’m also very happy that I’ve got reasons to shed those tears. That there are so many people in my live worth to shed those tears for. 

Farewells and goodbyes are a very intens part of the transition fase in culture shock. It’s also a very important step in the transition you should take, how painfull that might be. Those goodbyes and farewells make you become aware of all the people and big and little situations you value and care for. Knowing what you value for, makes it easier to find new people and create new situations you feel comfortable with.

This time it was me saying my goodbyes. In the expat life though it happens more often that the people leave whom I valued as a part of my life and I’m the one who’s left behind. That’s much harder as you have to make a familiar situation comfortable again without the person who has left.

Culture Shock. part 1

Transition
I can’t deny it anymore. Within 10 days we move out of Qatar to the Netherlands. 
We’re in transition mode;
The household is being divided in; what’s going to ‘suit case’, ‘freight container’ and ‘what to be sold’; The heart is out of the house, it’s not a home anymore;
Everybody is agitated and sad.
And we have to bid our farewells to people whom we know we’re not going to see anymore.

The transition stage is the first stage of a culture shock.
Culture shock is the anxiety and emotional stress when your physical surrounding and people change; When you come to live and/or work in different circumstances as what was considered normal, felt familiar and comfortable. 
It’s a process of change in your identity; process of letting go old values, expectations, behaviour and thinking patterns and adopting new ones.

Transition/detachment stage; 
The transition and detachment starts in the current country, when the decision to move becomes a reality and you’ve to start planning and thinking ahead; It’s the start of ‘letting go’ and saying farewells. You come to realise what you’ve got and what you have to let go.
For most people it’s a time of strong mixed feelings; Excitement (positive and negative) of the new adventures ahead and the grief of letting go.

For me, this time, this transition, I miss the excitement of a new adventure as we’re going to our home country. I know what to expect and not to expect.
Yet I already know I will have a difficult time to adjust again because it won’t be the same as I’ve got a lot of expectations and I’ve changed too. 
I do not have the curiosity and flexibility in my mindset to accept my new surroundings in the way they are now as they won’t be the way the were when I left.

I’ll miss the people, the friends, the community we belong to.
I’ll miss Qatar’ I love living in a country which grows and see changes for the better; 
I’ll miss the weather, the warmth and the sun. 
I’ll miss my freedom.
IFGAblogperson

Souq

 

Yesterday we were on the souq. (The souq is a traditional version of a shopping mall or a market hall.)
In ‘our’ souq we’ve got a ‘pet’ section.
“And oh my heart broke”. The way these poor birds and animals are being treated; In the heat, in to small cages, animals which aren’t pets or are becoming extinct.
I would love to buy them all and give them a better live.
Now my children are already so wise that they know that we can’t take them to Europe as they’re forbidden, that the birds would die here anyway in the heat and that the merchants would acquire replacement immediately, no matter from where.
They’re soooooo wise and responsible and won’t have the good feeling of having saved that one big turtle and let it roam in our garden.

It’s interesting to see how people react differently on that animal souq;
A good friend of mine avoids the animal souq. Another goes on the barricades. Tourists come and amaze themselves and taking pictures. Locals buy there their chickens and other show birds, boys get a pet to teach them responsibilities.
The guys who sell the animals (which are not the merchants!!) have no clue how cruel it is for those pets in the perspective of us westerners, who won’t see animal tragedies in daily live anymore. In case they have some idea, it’s from western television from the petambulance series or pictures of animal abuse in the media, which are not great either.
Then you have the merchants who buy and sell the animals….. I would tend to judge them, but then again they’re only trying to keep up their responsibilities to their wive(s) and the rest of the family, which in most cases is not easy either as there is no social security at all.

I like that animal souq, not because of the animals -I’m to much of a softy- for that. But because all the mixed feelings that it triggers in me, it makes me aware of my own values/thoughts/ convictions/believes, which learns me to see things through in a different perspective. I don’t have to agree but at least I can understand and accept that the world is not always the way I would have liked it and that doesn’t mean that it’s bad. 
It’s a way of learning to enjoy our differences.
IFGAblogperson

Dutch elections

Last week the Dutch (people from the Netherlands) elected their parlement.
Being Dutch, I hardly dared to look at the outcome the next day. I was so afraid for the shock in case one of the right winged parties would have won; Like the shock of Brexit, like the shock of Trump. The shock that so many people are that narrow-minded that they think ugly shouting men are the solutions to their frustrations; That they don’t have faith in democracy anymore.
The ultra right winged parties didn’t win, that was a relief but still they gained!

I’m thaught to live through my fears so I started to explore and try to understand the people who make such choices and I start to understand why.
I do understand it’s frustrating;
When your child needs extra support in school and there is no money for extra support for your child but there is for immigrant children;
When you can’t get a decent, cheap place to live and refuge families get houses,
When you don’t believe in the idea of a united and solidair Europe.

I do understand as well that the people who are in charge have to keep an eye on the big picture;
That children who can speak, read and learn in the local language can become useful citizen (i.e. tax paying citizen) and that kids in school don’t cause too much trouble to society;
That immigrants/refugees have to live somewhere too, they don’t have another choice then live in cheap houses;
That the more immigrants mix into Dutch society the more chance of integration, besides autochtone people are able to pay a bit more for housing than immigrants do;
That it’s good for the Dutch economy, who’s depending on trade to have free boundaries in Europe.

I got it.

What I do not understand is that apparently it is too hard to listen to what people are trying to say and take their concerns seriously or make the effort to explain in a language that a majority of people understand to explain why the decisions are been taking that way.

If you can’t explain decisions in a normal understandable way how should people trust you?

Politics in western societies seem to be stuck in procedures rather than solutions for the problems the people are facing.
I call that intellectual arrogance and I hope, I really, really hope that western leaders have had their wake up call.
The world is much more complicated and changing so fast, it’s asking for fast solutions as well.
A problem asks for a solution not a procedure which is probably out dated by the time it’s finally implemented!

IFGAblogperson

Trust

Last week I wrote about fear. But writing about fear made me realise that fear also has got everything to do with trust.
Fear is a lack of trust; a trust that ‘it will be alright’.
In many ways I’m very privileged; I come from a society where I can trust the health system, police and government; that they will try to; keep- and make me healthy and act according the law and if not I can go to court. That doesn’t mean I agree with everything but at least I know I have got rights.
I’m also confident with myself that I’ve got enough knowledge and strength to solve the problems I met.

Here in the Middle East I haven’t got that trust. As a white, confident and independent woman you never can be sure; If, how and when you will be judged when/if you do something wrong (even if other men do the same). Let alone the consequences.
I think this very uncomfortable feeling, comes close to fear.
I can feel it in my throat; like a bone stuck deep in my throat.
I’ve got that feeling too when I’m watching the news or reading papers? 
I don’t trust journalism anymore;
-knowing how journalist get their information,
-knowing how news depends on the point of view,
-knowing what kind of news ‘sales’ and
-knowing that certain news will reach me and other news won’t because I’m not in the ‘liking’ list.

It makes me afraid because I don’t have the control anymore over my trust in the things I hear/ read which are the base of my ideas of good and bad, my values and I have no idea how to solve this problem.
It makes me frustrated and angry. 
I hear and see a lot of signs that other people feel the same. And that’s scary, because I know by experience that for me ‘it will be allright’ I’ve been in more similar situations of loss of control and feeling out of my comfort zone but I know most people haven’t and I don’t trust most people to act in a smart way as I know that fear will interfere with the ability of people to think logically and ahead.

IFGAblogperson

What’s society so afraid of?

Fear

Have you ever been afraid? really feared for your existance; your life, your way off living? Well, I have. And it makes you shrink, your body, your brain, everything stops and you want to crawl back into a save place, and shut the door and window for everything. All creative thinking of how to solve a situation and a problem seem to have vanished into thin air.
Fear stinks, literally. Animals with a good sense of smell can be agressive when they smell fear, to protect themself and their flock/family.

Basically, fear is a healthy emotion when people feel threatened or endangered. The energy, emotions tend to produce, make it possible to react; freeze, run or attack.

When I look to western societies, nowadays, I see and smell fear.
I’m wondering what people fear so much?
There’s not a realistic life threatening fear, a fear the only solution is to run from it.
But what causes the fear that people want to close borders and shut themselves of from groups which made them stronger?
Is it fear for the continuity of their way of life?
Why people close their minds, their hearts, their houses, their borders.
A step further will be agression, as some people believe that attack is the best defence (very much a basic animal instinct, which people should be outgrown after 10.000.000 years).

I think it must have something to do with an invasion of influences that are threatening a away of live materialistic and inmatelerialistic (as; thoughts/ believes/ convictions/values of good and bad.)
The recession in a big part of the world
of the past 10 years have made many people uncertain and fearsome for their income, financial safety and the possibilties to maintain their way of live. 
In social democratic societies as in western europe, people saw how their social security (retirement, health care, education, right of income) was decreasing or getting very expensive. They saw how their values, as liberty and equality, meant that they had to share with even less fortunate. (It’s easier to blame those poor soles then reconsider your values).

“The more you’ve got the more you’ve got to lose”
That counts specially for the aging population of western europe, plus the older people get the more fearsome they are.

Because of globalisation you see that different thoughts/believes/convictions/values traditions and behaviour invade everyday live, and threaten peoples own original thoughts/believes/convictions/values/traditions/behaviour and cultural heritage.

A healthy and wise response to the emotion fear (very short) is to acknowledge the emotion fear, then you can research what it is exactly that makes you so afraid and think of a way how to handle it.
Societies are in someways just big bodies and should react the same -grown up- reaction as a normal human body.

IFGAblogperson